Les Miserables star Ruthie Henshall talks love, musicals and being a single mum

Bucks Free Press: Ruthie Henshall Ruthie Henshall

WEST End leading lady Ruthie Henshall is bringing her own show to the Wycombe Swan next month where she will take the audience on a musical journey through her life. The mum of two spoke about her break-up from husband, Tim, breaking into the industry and her favourite musical part.

Ruthie has an extremely busy schedule and when I spoke to her she was preparing for her latest show, An Intimate Evening with Ruthie Henshall, where she will explore her 25 year musical career through song.

To name but a few- she has starred in leading roles in the West End in Cats, Miss Saigon, Crazy for You, She Loves Me and Les Miserables.

And off stage the 45-year-old is a single mum to Lily (nine) and Dolly (seven) after splitting from husband, Tim Howar, in August 2009.

She said: "Being a single mum with children it is kind of stressful being in that kind of business where you need to do a job for six months then you might not work for another six months or a year.

"Whatever you have earnt it has to then eek out over how ever long you are not working for.

"For me there are certain jobs I can't take. I have to keep a certain standard.

"I wouldn't go and take an ensemble job just to go and earn a living.

"There are pros and cons. But the pros outweigh the cons.

"The industry is quite precarious but because we love it so much it is worth it."

And it is because she has two young children she wanted to do a tour like this, where she is not away all of the time.

She said about the split: "It was so hard on them. They didn't have a constant at home. This is why I am doing much more of this concert work."

But she is very excited about the tour which will have a wide range of songs from musicals to Don Mclean to Joni Mitchell.

She said: "I am very excited because the last time I did something like this I was 26.

"It has been a long while since I have just gone out and been just me on a tour. This is great."

"This one is very much my show. As in it has songs that relate to my life and my career and stories from my career and life.

"I will have a good laugh with the audience."

Ruthie said she has been very fortunate in her career and last year published a book called, So You Want To Be In Musicals? which gives advice to people wanting to break into the industry.

She said: "It is a wonderful business and you will love it. But don't get into it if you think you are going to be rich and famous- that very rarely happens."

"Do it because you love it- you meet wonderful people and have a great time."

She believes getting to the top is a mixture of talent and drive.

Ruthie, who lives in Suffolk, said: "I was very ambitious. I knew what I wanted to a certain extent. Of course you have to have the talent to back it up.

"There are lots of talented people in my business. I think a little bit of it is being in the right place at the right time and being in the right part.

"I would say 50 per cent talent, 49 per cent drive and one per cent luck."

As well as her split she has had to cope with other traumas. Her sister, Noel, died in 2007 of a drugs overdose while living in San Francisco.

Ruthie has spoken openly about her own depression. She said: It is about saying that there are times in your life you may have to reach out for help.

"Asking for help is one the most difficult things."

And for now, she said she is happy to be single adding: "I haven't dated since I split up with my husband which I have been very happy with. It has been very lovely to not have to worry about anyone else and look after my children."

Ruthie Henshall is at the Wycombe Swan on March 3 at 7pm. Tickets are £18 to £21 from 01494 512000 or go to www.wycombeswan.co.uk

For more leisure stories go to www.bucksfreepress.co.uk/leisure for I Love My Local, food reviews and what's on.

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